From a racist Cockney thug to an American gangster to a football hooligan, Stephen Graham is could still be considered a rising star who’s made a name for himself playing a variety of not-nice characters in a number of iconic cult films.
Born in the Liverpool suburb of Kirkby in 1973, he had a range of small parts in TV shows including the Bill and Coronation Street before finally getting his big break when he won the role of Tommy in Guy Ritchie’s film Snatch.
The story goes that he didn’t even audition for the film. Accompanying a friend to an audition, Ritchie said “I like your face” and asked him to start work on Monday.
Following this, he was given a role in Steven Spielberg’s Band of Brothers TV series which has starred a number of British actors including Simon Pegg, James McAvoy and Tom Hardy. His next major film role was alongside Hollywood legend greats Leonard DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz in the Martin Scorsese epic Gangs of New York.
However, it was 2006’s This Is England where Graham started to receive the recognition he deserves when he was cast as the nationalistic skinhead Combo in Shane Meadows’ cult classic. Gritty, violent and based on the director’s experiences growing up in Thatcher’s England, the film was released to critical acclaim.
After this, his roles have included playing a football hooligan in Awaydays, a gangster in Public Enemies and starring as Leeds United’s ginger hatchet-man Billy Bremner in The Damned United. Though he hasn’t turned his back on TV, starring as legendary American mob boss Al Capone in Scorsese’s Boardwalk Empire.
He’s also featured in a number of music videos by Saviour playlist regulars Arctic Monkeys including When The Sun Goes Down, as well as the short film Scummy Man based on the song.
Off camera, Graham is nothing like the bad boys he plays. Married with two children, he describes himself as a nice guy, and makes a point of not taking his work home to keep his missus happy!
So what’s next? He’s just finished filming for the new Pirates of the Caribbean film where he plays a character called Scrum and has a number of other projects in production, so it definitely won’t be the last we’ll see of this Scouse hard man.